JULIE LANE PHOTO
Fighting for a clear channel in Menantic Creek at Tuesday’s Town Board work session were (from left) Hap Bowditch, Linda McCarthy and James Brantuk.
At the urging of Menantic Creek residents, Shelter Island Supervisor Jim Dougherty agreed at Tuesday’s Town Board work session to write a letter to Suffolk County supporting a request for dredging to open up a channel that’s impassable at low tide.
“We’ll get it moving,” Mr. Dougherty told those who showed up in Town Hall about the dredging request, which must receive Suffolk County approval. At the same time, he warned that such requests take time, and the town’s current priority is the long-delayed dredging at South Ferry that affects interstate travel.
Because at low tide the channel is less than six feet deep around Island Boatyard, manager James Brantuk said he has been advised to ask for a nine-foot depth.
Without it, he is losing business, he told the Town Board.
Island Boatyard has 80 slips and room for 250 boats in dry storage as well as transient dockage for those going to SALT restaurant.
But with a limited channel, “There is always increased danger of collision,” said creek resident Linda McCarthy said.
She and neighbor Hap Bowditch brought a petition to the Waterways Management Advisory Committee last week and were told that it would be useful to get Town Board support the effort.
While the county has maintained it won’t dredge areas not previously dredged, Menantic Creek was previously dredged by former supervisor Everett Tuthill before it became illegal for private dredging to take place.
What’s more, Ms. McCarthy told the Town Board, Menantic is the only creek here that hasn’t been dredged by the county.
Owners of 70 properties surrounding the creek are affected by the lack of a channel, she said. Others, including South Ferry, that used to be able to bring boats into the creek during storms, are unable to do so now.